The initial phase (solid or aqueous droplet) of aerosol particles prior to activation is among the critical factors in determining their cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity. Single-particle levitation in an electrodynamic balance (EDB) was used to measure the phase transitions and hygroscopic properties of aerosol particles of 11 organic compounds with different solubilities (10 -1 to 102 g solute/100 g water). We use these data and other literature data to relate the CCN activity and hygroscopicity of organic compounds with different solubilities. The EDB data show that glyoxylic acid, 4-methylphthalic acid, monosaccharides (fructose and mannose), and disaccharides (maltose and lactose) did not crystallize and existed as metastable droplets at low relative humidity (RH). Hygroscopic data from this work and in the literature support earlier studies showing that the CCN activities of compounds with solubilities down to the order of 10-1 g solute/100 g water can be predicted by standard Köhler theory with the assumption of complete dissolution of the solute at activation. We also demonstrate the use of evaporation data (or efflorescence data), which provides information on the water contents of metastable solutions below the compound deliquescence RH that can be extrapolated to higher dilutions, to predict the CCN activity of organic particles, particularly for sparingly soluble organic compounds that do not deliquesce at RH achievable in the EDB and in the hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyzer. © 2008 American Chemical Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry